Trump administration to hasten officer deployment to U.S.-Mexico border: statement

Minnie Murray
April 2, 2019

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday directed Customs and Border Protection to speed up its planned surge of 750 officers to assist the US Border Patrol along areas of the southern border where there has been a influx of migrants crossing into the US from Mexico.

The US government says it is struggling to deal with a surge of asylum seekers from countries in Central America who travel through Mexico.

Tens of thousands of hopeful United States migrants, including members of migrant caravans, children and families, originate from Northern Triangle nations.

Trump administration officials say a system that allows asylum seekers to remain in the country for years while waiting for their cases to move through a backlogged immigration court system encourages illegal immigration. "You can take the president seriously".

The comments come after Trump tweeted last Friday that he would be "CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border", in the coming week if Mexico does not crack down on illegal border crossings.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., appearing on NBC News' "Meet the Press", said, "When the president says he's going to close the border, that is a totally unrealistic boast on his part".

On March 29 he made a similar threat, suggesting that the "border closing would be a good thing" because Mexican authorities "just take our money and 'talk'".

Judd said the real number, however, is even more troubling. He said the root causes behind the phenomenon, which include violence and poverty in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, must be tackled. "If they don't stop them, we are closing the border". Mexico is America's third largest trading partner, with over $600 billion in goods crossing the border past year. This has overwhelmed the system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a 2020 presidential candidate, said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that there is a "terrible humanitarian crisis" at the border and that the United States needs comprehensive immigration reform. The current waiting period is years long.

The department said it would "engage Congress in the process", an apparent acknowledgement that it would need representatives' approval to end funding that a Congressional aide estimated would total about $US700 million.

The Mexican government has created a controversial program to appease the Trump administration, allowing migrants to live and work in the country while they wait for the USA to process their claims.

In California's Imperial Valley, across from Mexicali, Mexico, farmers rely on workers who come across every day from Mexico to harvest fields of lettuce, carrots, onions and other winter vegetables.

Last week, a San Diego immigration judge heard from the first Central American families that were returned to Mexico under the MPP policy.

Congressional action would be needed to cut off aid to the three countries.

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